Visit Lisbon: Top 5 Sights

From trundling trams to the Gothic cathedrals, Lisbon offers a romantic ambiance to rival that of Paris or Venice. Visit Lisbon and experience authentic restaurants that serve fresh Atlantic seafood while the melancholic notes of Fado music drift along the charming backstreets.

While Lisboêtas tend to approach life at a delightfully laid-back pace, there’s much to do and see in the Portuguese capital. Between indulging in creamy pastéis de nata, the famously irresistible custard tarts, and guzzling down glasses of Porto, be sure to visit Lisbons top tourist attractions.

Alfama

For me, the true heart of Lisbon lies in Alfama, a hive of narrow cobblestoned streets that criss-cross each other haphazardly. This is the oldest part of the city and, although popular among tourists and rapidly gentrifying, here you can still find a slice of traditional Lisbon.

Visit Lisbon Top 5 Sights Alfama

Full of residential houses and locally run shops, this is the perfect place to explore. Never knowing where a chance alley might take you — to a sunny plaza, the best restaurant in town or face-to-face with someone’s unmentionables drying on a line — this area will charm your sense of adventure.

Jeronimos Monastery

Belém’s most famous attraction, the Jeronimos Monastery is a stunning example of Manueline architecture. Built in the 16th century, the monastery was commissioned by King Manuel I and emerged from the shared creative vision of French architect Diogo de Boitaca and Joäo de Castilho of Spain.

Visit Lisbon Top 5 Sights Jeronimos Monastery

The perpetual peace found among the pews is enchanting, but it’s the craftsmanship of the South Portal that beguiles me the most. Although a mere side entrance, the intricate stonework depicting two scenes from the life of St. Jerome attracts endless admiration.

Torre de Belém

Celebrating Portugal’s Age of Discovery, the Torre de Belém sits on the waterfront of the River Tagus. Although far less grand than the nearby Jeronimos Monastery, this Manueline structure that blends Gothic and Moorish elements is no less stunning.

Visit Lisbon Top 5 Sights Torre de Belém

Created in the shape of a ship’s bow jutting into the water, this four-storey tower made from ivory-white limestone gleams under the sun. The ornate exterior features nods to Portugal’s great navel past with carved nautical ropes embellishing the arches and windows. Looking out across the water from the Upper Battery, it’s easy to imagine a grand fleet of caravels setting sail, a regular sight back in the 15th century.

São Jorge Castle

Situated high above the city, São Jorge Castle not only packs a dramatic backstory that dates back to the 6th century but boasts the best views in Lisbon too. The Romans, Visigoth and the Moors all had a hand in building this imposing structure, which can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

Visit Lisbon Top 5 Sights São Jorge Castle

As made evident by the canons found around the grounds, the castle’s raison d’etre once was to protect the city. Despite this, the surrounding gardens are now a peaceful oasis. After strolling along the battlements and admiring the best views in the city, there’s no better way to soak up the atmosphere than a picnic among the manicured flowerbeds.

Sintra

With its fairy-tale palaces and location nestled in the hills, Sintra is often described as Disneyland for grown-ups. While strolling past pastel-hued houses with red-tiled roofs and out beyond the town to beautifully manicured parks, it’s easy to see why.

Visit Lisbon Top 5 Sights Sintra

Image Source: By Jane drumsara via Flickr

The fairy-tale feeling reaches its height at the foot of Pena Palace. Standing atop a rocky peak at the second highest point in Sintra, this former monastery was transformed into a flamboyant royal residence in 1838. As commonly found in 19th century Romanticism, the palace blends different architectural styles, with exterior wall paint the ranges from pink to purple to ochre. It maybe against all logic, but the mismatch works; the final effect is magical.

Top Image Source: By Matt Perich via Wikimedia Commons

Charlotte Claxton

Charlie is a freelance writer who specialises in travel, luxury and food. Having earned her chops as a staff writer for international travel brands and digital marketing companies, she now writes for freelance clients and runs her own travel blog. Charlie grew up in London and has since lived in Canada and Australia. She currently writes from various cafés, hammocks and beaches as she travels the world, bringing LuxeInACity readers first-hand insight into the best luxury experiences worldwide. Get to know Charlie better at www.charlieclaxtonwrites.com

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